Maple Ridge to study delivery of social services

Maple Ridge has chosen the agency that will study how social services are dished out within its boundaries...

Maple Ridge has chosen the agency that will study how social services are dished out within its boundaries and whether there’s a more effective way of doing so.

The Social Planning and Research Council of B.C., a non-profit, non-government agency, will do the study.

Scott Graham, with the council, said the study will make recommendations on how to deal with drug abuse, mental health issues and homelessness.

Private treatment centres will be included, Graham said in a response to a question from Coun. Gordy Robson, who also wanted to know regional influences, which result in people being sent to Maple Ridge.

Part of the study will include a checklist of grants and programs available from senior governments.

Coun. Craig Speirs said Maple Ridge has to recognize that it’s part of the Metro Vancouver region.

“My view on this is no one stands alone.”

Maple Ridge needs help from the provincial government and other cities in Metro Vancouver.

Mayor Nicole Read said she doesn’t want a study to regurgitate other information that’s already out there.

“What are we struggling with here? Our numbers do indicate something is wrong here. We have higher number of homeless than Tri-Cities (Port Coquitlam, Coquitlam and Port Moody) combined.

“We need to understand what we’re looking for.”

Although the study has yet to begin, Maple Ridge has already decided what service it doesn’t want.

In August, it asked B.C. Housing to stop funding the 25-bed emergency shelter at the Salvation Army’s Caring Place.

In April, council approved spending up to $75,000 to study how social services are delivered in Maple Ridge, with another goal of developing measuring tools to ensure programs are helping people.